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Williams-Sonoma cuts back on catalogs

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Williams-Sonoma, parent of specialty home decor retailers Pottery Barn and West Elm, has cut back on catalog distribution by a third, according to executive vp and chief marketing officer Thomas Weisel.

Williams-Sonoma will reduce its catalog page count by 31 percent, and cut back its catalog circulation by 25 percent. The plan is expected to help save the retailer $40 million in marketing costs.

“We know that the pages we would have mailed would not have yielded a profitable return,” Connolly said. He said the company would increase its reliance on email marketing.

The company has trimmed its outlook as well in the face of a down economy.

According to Williams-Sonoma CEO Howard Lester, “It would be hard and insane actually to forecast positive comps in the fourth quarter, so we’re not going to do that. But we’re always optimistic. You have to be.”

“This is probably the worst I’ve seen it by far,” he added.

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Carolina home builder files for bankruptcy

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Charlotte, N.C.-based home builder Classic Southern Homes has filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, with listed debts from $1 million to $10 million.

In its bankruptcy filing in North Carolina, the builder lists more than 50 creditors, including Home Depot, Stock Building Supply, Lowe’s and a number of local dealers, such as Larry Helms Flooring and Matthews Building Supply.

According to its Web site, Classic Southern Homes had a substantial renovation business in addition to its home-building enterprise. The business, started in 1998, focused about 70 percent of its business on renovations, particularly historical renovations.

Classic Southern Homes is not to be confused with Southern Classic Homes, a home builder based in eastern Florida; and Southern Classic Home, a separate home builder based in Lexington, S.C.

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Montana mill suspends operations

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Plum Creek Timber has suspended operations at its finger-joint stud manufacturing facility in Kalispell, Mont., according to the Flathead (Montana) Beacon.

The plant, which produced specialty wood products for new residential construction, employs around 24 people.

In a statement from the company, Hank Ricklefs, vp-Northern Resources and Manufacturing, said, “Market prices are depressed and don’t currently cover the costs of production. We reduced shifts in January, hoping to avoid a production stop, but unfortunately the market has not changed.”

According to the newspaper, Plum Creek earlier this month laid off workers at a Columbia Falls, Mont., mill, while nearby Tricon Timber laid off 40 individuals at a St. Regis, Mont., facility.

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